Mystery Plant #1

There is a mystery plant at my new home.

Actually, there’s a lot of mystery plants, including some kind of bizarre bromeliad looking thing coming up in the front yard. But we’ll get to them eventually.

This is a Mystery Shrub. It is quite large, the size of a well-grown rhodedendron, perhaps seven or eight feet tall and maybe twice that around. It has a sibling on its far side that’s rather smaller (the size of a medium azaelea.) The leaves are dark, glossy ovals, much like a rhody, set more or less palmate. It appears to be evergreen, and I had thought “Hey, probably a rhodedendron,” upon first seeing it.

The flower buds, however, are like no rhody I’ve ever seen. Instead of the tight, artichoke-armored balls of the azaelea family, these are short little pyramids of small tight white-green balls (which I presume will eventually hatch into some sort of white flower.) They look like lilac buds, but smaller and more compactly wired. However, lilacs are not evergreen and their leaves don’t look like that.

I’m stumped! And granted that it’s a garden, it could be from any corner of the globe. Anybody know any good guides to Mystery Horticulture?

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